Refrigeration is the biggest operational cost for businesses in the food storage sector. There are many opportunities to improve efficiency, with potential energy savings of between 2 – 10% achievable. Furthermore, improving energy efficiency in your food storage business provides additional productivity benefits - for example, by reducing food spoilage. Here are some tips to save:
Most refrigeration systems have a fixed head-pressure, which is often set higher than necessary causing systems to operate inefficiently and wasting money. The good news is that businesses can typically reduce energy use by 2% to 10% by adjusting head pressure, with investments that typically offer a payback period of just 3-5 years.
Installing VSDs can reduce the energy used by evaporative fans by up to 27%. Evaporative fans for cold storage are often necessarily large to ensure maximum cooling, however, even when optimum temperatures are achieved, fans still operate at the same speed. VSDs can vary the operating speed of motors when required.
Every time cold room doors are opened to permit loading and unloading, heat escapes and refrigeration systems have to work extra to cool rooms down again. Installing automatic cold storage doors and improving seals can reduce overall energy use by 2% and provide additional cost savings associated with longer product life.
By ensuring compressors are well maintained and replacing old inefficient compressor motors with high efficiency ones you can save approximately 2% to 10%.
Plan to phase out hydrofluorocarbon (HCFC) refrigeration systems and replace these with more efficient ammonia refrigeration systems. While this is a relatively high capital investment with typical payback periods of 7-10 years (based on saved energy only), it is an important consideration as it will also help future-proof your business as HCFC refrigerants become less available. Apple and Pear Australia Limited found that in 53% of businesses audited there was an opportunity to upgrade the current HCFC refrigeration system to ammonia.
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